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First Looks At XBox

Hemos posted more than 13 years ago | from the too-many-submisisons dept.

Games 246

adpowers writes: "You can find a picture and description of the Xbox at the press release from Microsoft." There's also shoots from Gamespy, news from C|Net, and a report from Reuters - and lastly, a report from MSNBC.

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Re:Suprisingly stoopid idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#525811)

Yeah but the developers won't have to worry about things like hardware confilcts, so they will be able to use the hardware to its max, so the games will be better optimized than anything you could sell for a regular pc.

Re:quick thoughts. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#525813)

Still the problem with batteries. And the increased price of radio links (wouldn't bluetooth be a perfect solution for this). My friend has a wireless mouse, and at practically every LAN party I hear "does anyone have some AAA batteries?" And that rumble feature that everything has would drain batteries even more.

Maybe a perfect wireless controller would use lithium ion batteries and a small charging station, and maybe an emergency cable you could use if your battery was dead and there was no time to charge. Would cost a lot for a game controller, though. Somebody want to make one?

Re:quick thoughts. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#525814)

Overall, I think this looks like a good system, if you ignore the monopolistic corporate empire that makes it.
My only major problem with it is the hard drive. Given Micro$oft's past with software, they'll use it to store patches for the OS and/or games, available either through the internet or a CD mailed with monthly updates on it. The reason I like consoles is because you can just plug it in and it works. No need to apply patches to fix bugs, increase functionality, optimise drivers, etc. That's all supposed to be done before I get it. Lets hope M$ uses its vast bank accounts to spend a little money on beta testing and bug squashing. Since it's likely they'll succeed with the Xbox anyway, given their marketing/hypnotising budget, might as well hope it doesn't suck too much.

Re:Why the hard disk? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#525816)

Good uses for the hard drive, but I think the reason M$ wanted a hard drive instead of a faster DVD drive is that they can write more than a couple of MB of data to it and the stuff will be stored after the unit is turned off. Perfect for installing patches to. Now M$ doesn't have to spend as much money beta testing as Sony or Nintendo, because they can now fix their mistakes after they make them! I predict days where X box games will say: "Requires Service Pack 7 to play" on the box.

I wonder (1)

smartin (942) | more than 13 years ago | (#525818)

If this puppy runs Linux :)

299.00 for the console, 50+ for the games... (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 13 years ago | (#525820)

299.00 for the console, 50+ for the games and you are bitching about the cost of 8 AA batteries every 60 days!

Re:Slight design mistake (1)

Matt Lee (2725) | more than 13 years ago | (#525821)

Sega Rally uses WinCE. It runs slowly, so maybe that's not the best example :)

Re:The stat that really gets me: (1)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 13 years ago | (#525822)

You can see the giant case fan in this shot: Bet it makes a ton of noise. Will people really use this thing for watching DVD movies, if it has a whirring fan on all the time? I can hear the transport motors in my oldest CD player, and it bugs the hell out of me. Home theater gear with fans would drive me berserk.

Re:quick thoughts. (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 13 years ago | (#525823)

I don't want a cord at all, read the post next time.

Re:Hell yes! (1)

AviN (9933) | more than 13 years ago | (#525825)

All you have to do is make a game CD/DVD/cartridge with Linux installed on it, with loadlin.exe (to boot you into Linux).

Skrillz (1)

dwlemon (11672) | more than 13 years ago | (#525828)

This is one arena where I hope MS does succeed.

Some game developers will make a lot of money programming for the Xbox. I hope to be one of them.

Re:Slight design mistake (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 13 years ago | (#525833)

So you're saying there is hardware out there that Microsoft software can RUN on?


Upgrade revenue? (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 13 years ago | (#525834)

It would appear that they are already preparing for upgrade revenue to the Xbox 2002. From the press release:

...pastel colored buttons on controllers aren't cool...

Judging from the pictures of the controller, they clearly have pastel-colored buttons. Why would they go to such trouble to find out that the "gamer culture" does not like pastel-colored buttons, does not want pastel-colored buttons and feels that pastel-colored buttons are "not cool," just to put them in anyway? Xbox 2002 will probably have non-pastel-colored buttons, so the "gamer culture" will be compelled to upgrade to stop being "not cool."


In case you hadn't heard (1)

barzok (26681) | more than 13 years ago | (#525837)

A few years ago, they invented these things called rechargable batteries. Get 2 sets per controller (actually, wouldn't need that many, unless you play 4-player all the time), you'll always have batteries ready to go for your wireless controller(s) and just buy them once.

Re:Slight design mistake (1)

jrs (27486) | more than 13 years ago | (#525838)

No, it dosen't. Developers have the choice of using WinCE or Sega's OS. 99% choose Sega's OS. I can't think of any game that uses Win CE on the Dreamcast.

Re:wow (1)

Cloud 9 (42467) | more than 13 years ago | (#525842)

By that logic, I can speed up my computer by putting racing stripes on it...

Only if they're made of black electrical tape. Trust me, it works. =]

Re:X Box? (1)

thogard (43403) | more than 13 years ago | (#525845)

I wonder if the name was picked to add to confusion over X.

Re:Suprisingly stoopid idea (1)

MrP- (45616) | more than 13 years ago | (#525846)

Dont know...

As stated [] at, it can run up to 1920x1080, they must have a converter so you can use it on a pc monitor, like dreamcast VGA box, so it wont have much less powerfull rendering if it runs at that res, unless it runs crappy at that res

Re:Freedom to innovate... new interfaces? (1)

MrP- (45616) | more than 13 years ago | (#525847)

my experiance with USB shows me that they disconnect real easy... the only change is probably a deeper connection so little kids wont pull the controllers out.. although that may be a bad idea, because now they'll just pull the system down off the tv and damage the 8gb harddrive, oops :)

Re:Another Microsoft Failure (1)

British (51765) | more than 13 years ago | (#525849)

Maybe MS won't care if the linux hackers try to run X on it, etc. Seeing is they'll have to BUY the X-box to do it. Linux hackers might laugh and rejoice if they pull it off, but MS will be laughing their way to the bank.

I don't think many Linux hackers are going to try to run Linux on it, because isn't the operating system stored in the hardware. But then there are a lot of linux hackers with plenty of time on their hands. If they port linux to the X-box, I wonder if you would be able to PC games on it. That could be useful, because you wouldn't have all of the overhead that a regular PC has.

Re:wow (1)

I_redwolf (51890) | more than 13 years ago | (#525850)

Hell, I sped up my Chevy Chevette by doing that!
However adding a big exhaust pipe plus the racing stripes on the sides == TURBO!

Of course that is all relative to myself.. I feel faster though!

Re:quick thoughts. (1)

Longstaff (70353) | more than 13 years ago | (#525854)

I see, you just want to buy a fresh set of AA batteries for each of your four radio-enabled controllers every two months. Me, I prefer to flush my money down the toilet.

They're called NiMH rechargeable batteries. I use them in all of my IR controllers and remotes. They last about 2 months between charges for me and take and hour and a half to charge. I'm guessing that that's about 30-40 hours of gameplay.

A pair of AAA's will run about $5-$8 at your local Radio Shack. You can pick up a NiMH charger for $15-$25.

Re:quick thoughts. (1)

Longstaff (70353) | more than 13 years ago | (#525855)

The wireless IR controllers I have for my PSX put the original wireless pads for the NES to shame. They take AAA's, so they're a lot lighter and the design is very comfy.

Controller Design (1)

Longstaff (70353) | more than 13 years ago | (#525856)

Is it just me or do all the latest controller designs suck? The only standard controller I've found 100% confortable is the PS{X,2}'s.

Dreamcast is a beautiful system, but the controllers are worthless. N64? Well, I was never very fond of the system itself, and the controllers were a big reason why (far from the only one, though).

Anyway, why do all the latest system designers (aside from Sony) believe that you have to have a MUCH bigger surface in order to add extra features? IMNOSHO, everybody should pay attention to how Sony went from the standard PSX controller to the Dual Shock configuration. They managed to add TWO thumb-sticks without making me grip the controller any differently. I want a controller I can wrap my pinkies and ringfingers around - and I don't have the hands of a 5-year-old!!!

Re:quick thoughts. (1)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 13 years ago | (#525857)

I wouldn't expect the bandwidth of the gaming controller to be anymore than that of a mouse (see Logitech). What? 36400 bps should do shouldn't it? Even for a 256 bit joystick? (Some people call them analogue).

Re:X Box? (1)

wuice (71668) | more than 13 years ago | (#525859)

I'm sure the last thing in the world Microsoft would ever want to do is have their new console associated with that X. Ugh, the thought of a console using X makes me wanna puke shoot.

Maybe it has something to do with DirectX? Ya think?

Re:Reverse Hack??? (PLEASE!) (1)

jeffsenter (95083) | more than 13 years ago | (#525867)

Don't count on this. The advantage counsols have over PC's (I am told) is that the hardware is 100% standardized so that things can be super-optimized. This also means that due to the optimizations software developed for counsosn't work elsewhere.

Re:quick thoughts. (1)

ahaning (108463) | more than 13 years ago | (#525884)

Yeah, of course. And even 36400 would be overkill. But the problem still exists of figuring out how to allow the controller/receiver to continue to communicate without bad stuff happening when the signal has been obscured.

I still think that, after all the R&D had been performed (And MS does this very well, when it comes to hardware. Just look at their mice. Maybe they aren't "revolutionary", but they certainly are nice.) the cost of creating a wireless controller would be so expensive as to make it a bad choice. And the wireless controllers I've seen (ok, only one, for the 8bit NES) are clunky and heavy and require AA batteries. However, looking at the size of that controller, they could probably add on some more [weight, size] and you wouldn't really notice. The NES controller isn't all that ergonomic, either :).

Re:quick thoughts. (1)

A Bugg (115871) | more than 13 years ago | (#525890)

wireless controllers exist my roommate has one for his Playstation 2, in reality it is the remote control for the DVD but it works just fine for game play to albeit a bit awkward. a bugg

Wow, what a piece of self-congratulatory tripe (1)

stevarooski (121971) | more than 13 years ago | (#525892)

Well, whatever else happens, there'll at least be ONE person buying an Xbox. This guy gets aroused just thinking about it.

"The Microsoft designers reinforced the idea of Xbox's unforeseen potential and power by putting a raised "jewel" on the top of the console. Luke compares it to a porthole on a furnace, nuclear submarine or atomic collider. "You can see the fire inside burning," Luke explained." . . . . riiiiiiight.

11 O'Clock News (1)

1nt3lx (124618) | more than 13 years ago | (#525894)

This is easily the first time I've ever seen a report about Microsoft on the local Eleven O'Clock News before it was on Slashdot.

That is kind of disturbing.

I guess everyone of us was trying to figure out how we could steal one instead of sharing that information with the Slashdot Community. (That's what I was doing.)

Hmm (1)

crashnbur (127738) | more than 13 years ago | (#525895)

I really hate that the Xbox is turning out to look like a good piece of equipment, because I don't expect to ever see myself buying one. It's not that I have anything against it or Microsoft - I never have. I just believe that three companies is enough for the console market. On the other hand, if Sega actually vanishes into the night, Microsoft might be a good addition to the console wars. Still, I think Microsoft should stick to making their software better instead of entering a new market. They've stuck their nose in nearly every electronic market in existence as is ... I don't think we can stand much more. Hopefully the Xbox will prove to me that they deserve this market. If not, Microsoft may lose my support (of course my support never meant anything... I'm just a kid).

all the reports say the same (1)

bdigit (132070) | more than 13 years ago | (#525898)

All the reports say the same crap, show the same pictures, so why link to 4 different articles? It took /. a whole day to finally post something about the xbox. This is old news, im sure everyone and there mother has read about this already

Why I like the X-Box idea (1)

BadBlood (134525) | more than 13 years ago | (#525899)

I'm no console fan, haven't bought one since SNES in '91 or so. However, with all the aparent mass exodus from PC development to X-box/console development, one good thing may happen.

Since the X-Box hardware will essentially be frozen for a year (assumption - I'm thinking there will be X-Box2,etc.), developers will focus more on gameplay than fancy bells and whistles. Since the CPU is in reality 1/2 speed of current state of the art, developers will have less CPU horsepower to rely on for fancy bells and whistles, relatively speaking.

This is of course assuming that the titles eventually DO get ported to the PC platform. I'm thinking that's not too big a stretch given the X-Box's similarity to a true PC.

Re:Hell yes! (1)

TandyMasterControl (136043) | more than 13 years ago | (#525903)

Yeah, but it probably boots from a ROM. Leetle more work replacing ROM image with LinuxBIOS than overwriting boot sect with LILO. Where are all the Linux internet appliances I was promised?? I was promised Linux internet appliances !!


They got this great thing called LinuxBIOS developed in part at Los Alamos, but damn if you kin find anybody using it to make SBC linboxes (the obvious thing to do). No, everbuddy's got to have their own Gigantor-Beowulf clusters these days - no luv for the SBC and the lowly LAN station. I say the world don't need no more nuclear simulations than it's already got...what we need is cheapo linboxes that boot up in &lt 3 sec. with / on a flashdisk, and that mount /homer from the old 30gig PC down the hall. ALL the parts are there waiting to be used, but only MSFT and cronies are using them.

Re:culture? (1)

trkball (138324) | more than 13 years ago | (#525905)

Maybe it's all bullshit. Maybe they didn't visit anyone at all and just came up with the ideas playing around the office like they mentioned. Who would know (or really care)?

Would YOU let MS reps into your home? I hope they were giving away some serious freebies :-)

Re:Will game consoles kill family life a little mo (1)

Rew190 (138940) | more than 13 years ago | (#525906)

Social evolution.

One could argue that instead of sitting here and posting on Slashdot, you should be spending time with your family, yes?

Anyhow, I don't think that just because a console is new or next-gen or whatever means it's going to be more addictive. It takes time for the developers to be able to exploit all the strengths of a system, so basically the REALLY good, immersive games (Think Zelda64, think Final Fantasy 9) take at least a year after the initial release of a new system to come out. The only real reason to get a new console is the most obvious, the graphics. Chances are you probably don't have to worry about losing the kids to the TV based on flashy visuals (except maybe if it's p0rn).

At any rate, if the kiddies want to play video games, let 'em. If you want to be more family like, then hell, buy yourself a second controller and try playing a game or two. The key here is to be flexible, I almost lost a child to NHL 97 back on the SNES until I started doing shootouts with him ;)

Design (1)

el_munkie (145510) | more than 13 years ago | (#525913)

I am glad to see that they decided to put in 4 controller ports. It is amazing to me that the Sony decided to put only 2 ports on a 128-bit console, they should understand by now that the multiplayer aspect of gaming is usually the most fun. I am also glad to see that the box is in a more conventional console design, and not a free-standing "X" like some of the earlier photos seemed to suggest. As I understand it, the Xbox is designed to be like a console version of a PC, and I see no reason to play PC games on an ultra-low-res television screen. Why would I need a console that outputs at 200x 320 (or whatever television resoloution is), when I can play on my 19" monitor at 1600x1200 courtesy of my GeForce 2?

Some critiques and predictions (1)

el_munkie (145510) | more than 13 years ago | (#525914)

Also, why the hell would anyone need 8 Gb to store game info? I can see benefits to it if some of the HD was used as cache for the FMVs, etc, but damn, that is a lotta space for an application like this. On a more personal note, I dont trust RAM management in the first place, I have 256 Mb on my box, and in an hour, I have 200Mb of swap space taken up. I have no such problems on linux, naturally. Flames aside, I am sure that they could have reduced the cost of the machine by making that magnetic bucket a bit smaller. Also, I predict that with 4 128-bit consoles out, there wont be a lot of competition. I say this because we are already seeing a lot of games released for the DC, and later the PS2. Tony Hawk 2, a game that I believe is available for the aforementioned systems, is being made for the XBox. I am betting that games will be made for each console, and that the selling points of the different consoles will be the optimizations they make to the games, and of course, their price. Finally, I would like to say that I believe that the new Nintendo system will not follow this pattern, as Nintendo has in the past relied more on second and first party developers, ones that would be less likely to make cross-platform games. Whether this will be a good or a bad thig remains to be seen.

Re:Reverse Hack??? (PLEASE!) (1)

el_munkie (145510) | more than 13 years ago | (#525915)

So you are saying that my PC is already an XBox emulator? Gates is NOT gonna be happy.

DirectX / OpenGL (1)

vandan (151516) | more than 13 years ago | (#525916)

Does anyone know if OpenGL will be supported (making Linux ports easier). Alternatively, does anyone know how Wine is handling DirectX these days? The problem I see is that developers will say "OK, we can design from the ground up to work with Win32 / X-Box using DirectX, or we can design from the ground up to work with Win32 / Linux using OpenGL but sacrifice the X-Box market. Please don't kill my OpenGL...

Ready, set, Wait.... (1)

slashdoter (151641) | more than 13 years ago | (#525917)

*trumpit sounds*

Let the hacking begin, I can't wait to see it boot linux, ala dreamcast


Ugly? (1)

TermAnnex (154514) | more than 13 years ago | (#525918)

Aside from the transulect green spheres in the middle, it looks ugly to me.

The controllers look big and clunky (2/3 the size of the machine it seems), and the machine itself is boxy, it looks like a suitcase.

Does any else think the buttons are too high up on the controller? It looks like someone would have to put their hands at a ring angle to each other to be able to use the controller easily?

Re:Ugly? (1)

TermAnnex (154514) | more than 13 years ago | (#525919)

please forgive the spelling mistakes...

Re:Still... (1)

OblvnDrgn (167720) | more than 13 years ago | (#525930)

Off the top of my head?

-733 mhz Intel chip, compared to about 233 for Dreamcast, 300 for PS2. -They've bought/gotten exclusive contracts from a lot of really great game suppliers, who are either making X-box only games, releasing them first, or at least publishing for the system as well. -Hard drive space, for add-ons and saves without buying additional memory cards and all that. -Less bugs than the PS2? Maybe. Certainly availability. -That neato Nvidia chip, too. This is one powerful little sucker, and I love my PS2. Just because I don't love windows doesn't mean their console will suck. Only time will tell. --OblvnDrgn Yes, I work retail in the game industry. Yes, I already reserved my X-box.

What's with the controller? (1)

Hellvetica (170451) | more than 13 years ago | (#525931)

What's that green ball for? Is it a trackball?

Space Heater (1)

Aldurn (187315) | more than 13 years ago | (#525935)

Anyone else think this thing looks like a space heater? Or possibly one of those LCD projectors. Although I must admit it looks better than Nintendo's glowing purple blob of a "Game Cube."

Updates to the box? (1)

Bungie (192858) | more than 13 years ago | (#525938)

Well, now that its out, I wonder how long it'll take before MS releases X-Box Service Pack 1? Or perhaps you'll just buy a game from Microsoft that'll perform the update and integrate Internet Explorer into your gaming.

Re:culture? (1)

tfxx (199314) | more than 13 years ago | (#525944)

So now gamers are a culture?

No, they are a market.

Re:Karma Whoring (1)

racshade (202987) | more than 13 years ago | (#525947)

Gee, I wonder if the fact that zdnet is in Gates' back pocket has anything to do with that, hmm...

Slashdoted! (1)

smnolde (209197) | more than 13 years ago | (#525950)

The screenshots server is slashdotted at 0020 EST.

Re:hmm . . . (1)

cbwsdot (212913) | more than 13 years ago | (#525952)


You're right, my Intellimouse works great in GNOME. :)


NetBSD (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | more than 13 years ago | (#525955)

Now all we need is for someone to hack it and boot NetBSD on it. heh

Hell yes! (1)

AFCArchvile (221494) | more than 13 years ago | (#525956)

It's an x86 with a hard drive and a video card, isn't it?

Re:quick thoughts. (1)

vheissu (229617) | more than 13 years ago | (#525960)

>>I will stick to my CPU. I can do more and play more than any console. I really think that gaming is best on the >>desktop but then again, I like my dual heads and my keyboard and my multitasking... That is just me. My CPU kinda sucks for gaming--it just sits there. Once I tried to use it as a checker piece, but it didn't really fit into the squares very well. I suppose you could probably run a pool around the office about how long it takes to fry an egg or something. Once I put it back in my computer, it was OK, but too far away from the couch.

Suprisingly stoopid idea (1)

Natalie's Hot Grits (241348) | more than 13 years ago | (#525964)

I have been following the development of this XboX crap from microsoft. This isnt flame bait or anything like that.

All this thing is:

- intel p3 cpu
- rambus RDRAM
-nvidia integrated chipset:
"3d" sound
2d and 3d video
memory controller

What is so funny about the nvidia part is this. They will be releasing the same thing to the general public as a north and south bridge for intel and amd platforms! Whats more interesting is that this "next generation nvidia chip" is nothing more than what will be in my AGP slot a few months from now. There really isnt anything special about this box except it is proprietary, small, and will cost you a little less than my entire system. But then again, it can do a whole lot less than my entire system.

Re:Suprisingly stoopid idea (1)

Natalie's Hot Grits (241348) | more than 13 years ago | (#525965)

worry about hardware conflicts? sorry, that has nothing to do with it. Game makers dont have anything to do with hardware. The closest they get is a bit of cpu asm. Everything else is wrapped inside an API. Specifically, for pc games, that would be OpenGL and Direct3D for video and DirectSound for audio (or on *nix, OpenAL, OSS, ALSA for sound)

Game developers are stuck into microsoft's proprietary API's (mostly directx) but the beauty is that almost all PC games will be available on this system due to being portable from windows to.. windows.

Another thing that makes the cost a lot less is that the video processor does not have to be as powerfull on a game consol as it does on a PC. rendering on a TV is a LOT lower resolution than a PC monitor, and rendering on your monitor at anything less than 1024 nowadays is unacceptable to a hardcore FPS gamer like me. on a TV, sub 640x480 resolutions rule, and it doesnt take much power to make it look "awesome".

Re:Why I'm disappointed by XBox - and impresed by (1)

DevilJeff (243585) | more than 13 years ago | (#525967)

I'm not supporting Microsoft in anyway, nor am I bashing Nintendo, so don't take it as such.

But, when you say "The controller design is very innovative. It feels very good in your hands but is extremely intuitive and usable." Have you actually had the controller in your hands? As far as I know, Nintendo has said "look, don't touch". On the point of innovation, I personally think the thing looks like an ass-backwards Playstation controller.

I do agree with you about the stupid green logo space on the X-Box controller, though.

Re:Will game consoles kill family life a little mo (1)

Radish03 (248960) | more than 13 years ago | (#525969)

Not to defend Microsoft (I don't think they even need to get into this industry), but there are still plenty of other consolse out there, and one more won't do much more harm.

Don't be so worried that kids are spending so much time playing games, they could be doing plenty of other things that would take away from family time such as sports, and whatnot. Sure, sports may sound better than games, but they're all just hobbies and if the kids like games, it's good they've found something they like. Adults are much more flexible than children, so maybe if the parrents spend time with the kids while they play the games, it would help.

Re:Another Microsoft Failure (1)

kiwicool2 (261989) | more than 13 years ago | (#525973)

I would think that the 8 gig harddrive *is* for holding that piece of shit OS called windows. I don't think it would be that hard to take out the harddrive, format it with ext2 and stick linux on it. I am guessing that it will probably be incased in something to make this difficult, if not impossible without breaking the xbox

Re:Another Microsoft Failure (1)

Bill Fuckin' Gates (262364) | more than 13 years ago | (#525975)

But then there are a lot of linux hackers with plenty of time on their hands.
Yes, because most of them are unemployed.

The plight of the GNU/Linux user is tragic, and unfortunately increasingly common. After the user is able to trick himself into believing that the UNIX-wannabe is actually well-built and useful, he begins a downward spiral which leads to isolation ("Let's not invite Linus to the movies... he's probably too busy playing with his Linux machine to care."), unemployment ("We're sorry, Mr. Cox, but we just don't have a need for so-called 'experts' in UNIX clones. We're doing just fine with our Dell workstations and IBM servers. Maybe you should take some MCSE courses?"), and eventually, death.

If you know a Linux user, you can help. Purchase a copy of Windows Me (the one-stop solution for the home desktop user) or Windows 2000 Professional (the e-business platform of the new millennium) and ship it to them immediately. While you're at it, why not buy a copy for yourself, too?

Buy a Linux user a copy of Windows today. Because if you don't help them, who will?

See you in hell,
Bill Fuckin' Gates®.

Why I'm disappointed by XBox - and impresed by NGC (1)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 13 years ago | (#525977)

This is totally screwed up. Much of the space on the controller is wasted by the translucent green "Xbox" logo. They could make the controller much more useful by removing it.

Also, how are they going to make money on this? PC motherboards and Pentium III's aren't cheap. I know that they can lose an amout of money on the hardware and make it up with the software (like the PS2), but selling a system which costs $600 for $300 - a net los of $300, means that they have to sell at least six games per system to even break even.

I, however, am looking forward to to the NINTENDO GAMECUBE (all upper case is the Nintendo-approved way to write it). The controller design is very innovative. It feels very good in your hands but is extremely intuitive and usable. GAMECUBE is powered by a 405MHZ IBM "Gekko" CPU (the Gekko is a PowerPC plus special instrucions for gaming). It has a cool ATI graphics chip which can apply up to 8 effects per pass (alpha, mip-mapping, texturing, bumpmapping, lighting, triliner filtering, etc.). While the XBox is a black box, the GAMECUBE is a small box (
My point is, that the XBOX's design is very disappointing. It's a black box. The controller is nonreviloutinary. It's a stinking black box with a 100baseT port on the back.

This is like other Microsoft hardware - "thuroughlly disappointing".

Xbox Gamers Play Video (1)

secs (262721) | more than 13 years ago | (#525978)

What is with that video? Those kids look as if they were forced to play it. Then all of a sudden the tv sound is off and Microsoft amplifys the sound of the kid pressing the buttons.. With videos like that, and the other ones on that site, you know for sure the console market is becoming over saturated

culture? (1)

gags bunny (263639) | more than 13 years ago | (#525979)

from the article:

Xbox designers even toured 130 of these gamers' homes to see how and where they played games

He also visited shops where gamers hang out or buy consoles and games to "absorb the culture, see what they see every day," Luke explained

"Visiting gamers in their homes helped put us in their shoes," Luke explained. "We are designing on their behalf."

So now gamers are a culture?

OK I know there is the image of only 16 year old pimply face nerds liking these games, but its not true. Parents play these games, even grandparents, so how did the determine the typical gamer??

The stat that really gets me: (1)

Chuck Flynn (265247) | more than 13 years ago | (#525980)

Nevermind all the new whizbang features and those pretty graphics. That doesn't impress me. The part that impresses me is that they've managed to make the thing so damn small. Back when I was a kid in the thirties, trains were still steam-powered for the most part. When I got started with IBM in the early fifties, those machines were enormous: an entire room, sometimes two, just for a single computer with only a few hundered transistors, each individually programmable and each the size of, well, I can't remember what but they were big. You had to hire water buffalo to wade in your kiddy pool and splash water on them to keep them cool, if I recall correctly, which I probably don't. Or do I? I can't remember.

Even Microsoft made it small. That says a lot, since they're the experts in making stuff bloated. Or, how can I put it a different way. Microsoft's X-box is to Bill Gates what Eisenhower's tax cuts were to Eisenhower: they should've been huge, but in the end, they were the tiny little buggers, even too tiny. Wow, that really brings back the memories. I think.

Re:Will game consoles kill family life a little mo (1)

Aunt Mable (301965) | more than 13 years ago | (#525985)

Just have multi-player games if you want family togetherness. There's no need to live like Amish.

There was a kuro5hin feature on multi-player games at parties [] and whether it was a Good Thing.

-- Eat your greens or I'll hit you!

Re:What's with the controller? (1)

Aunt Mable (301965) | more than 13 years ago | (#525986)

No, it looks more like the Atari Jaguar controller (64bit wonder, out about the time of the Sega MegaCD, was still-born)

-- Eat your greens or I'll hit you!

Re:WWF wrestler (2)

Chris Johnson (580) | more than 13 years ago | (#525997)

"Both The Rock and Bill Gates are known worldwide for their vast array of catch phrases," the wrestler noted.


Re:quick thoughts. (2)

Matt Lee (2725) | more than 13 years ago | (#525998)

long cord.. why even bother? I don't want a cord, he talked to the wrong people.

I see, you just want to buy a fresh set of AA batteries for each of your four radio-enabled controllers every two months. Me, I prefer to flush my money down the toilet.

the DVD is a moot point, I don't care what medium they use it is of no consequence to me... The damn games better load fast. I would rather a cartridge (no scratches).

Making cartridges is way too expensive, especially if you want to allow game designers to actually produce something cool (i.e. big textures, movies, etc) The age of Nintendo using tiny texture maps and crazy compression hacks is over - the challenge nowadays is making a good game, not making a game work. Multi-gigabyte games are financially impossible with cartridges.

the Intel processor is great but it is going to cause everyone to say things like "let's hack it"

I've been to a talk by J Allard (the head xbox guy), he claims that the system would only run Microsoft-signed data on DVD-9 media, making it pretty damn difficult to hack it. He offered a job to anyone who could boot linux on it :) Regardless, I don't think we'll see anything of interest hacked onto the console; after all, what would it bring? crappy games made by 14 year olds? I can get plenty of those for my PC already...

Re:quick thoughts. (2)

rho (6063) | more than 13 years ago | (#525999)

I want to sit where ever I am and be free (and not have people tripping over the damn wire, or the dog pulling it out in the middle of a 1 hour GT2 endurance race).

I assume you mean wireless controllers? No thank you. I've already paid $XXX for the console and $XX for games -- I don't want a recurring cost as well for batteries. (Rechargable you say? Okay, the console better come with recharable batteries AND a charger -- again, I've already paid $XXX...)

Nor have I ever been impressed with the performance of wireless controllers. Bleargh!

If you WANT wireless, buy them as accessories.

Re:Freedom to innovate... new interfaces? (2)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 13 years ago | (#526000)

Wow that's even more stupid than I expected. I cannot think of a single advantage to a USB port with a non-standard physical connector. I guess they don't wan't people making a knock-off Xbaux? But some Taiwanese company will start making USBXbox physical adapters for $0.85, and whatever reason they could possibly have had for using non-standard connectors will be moot.

Why the hard disk? (2)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 13 years ago | (#526001)

I think the hard drive in this console is a really truly bad idea. After that box gets yanked off the top of the TV once or forty times, the hard drive is going to stop working. These boxes aren't targetted at the same people who buy laptop computers, and they shouldn't be built like laptop computers.

quick thoughts. (2)

garcia (6573) | more than 13 years ago | (#526002)

long cord.. why even bother? I don't want a cord, he talked to the wrong people. I want to sit where ever I am and be free (and not have people tripping over the damn wire, or the dog pulling it out in the middle of a 1 hour GT2 endurance race).

the box is meant to bring about feelings of the loudest stereo you ever could imagine? It looks like the N64 or any other console ever made. It makes me think of a console, not a stereo.

the DVD is a moot point, I don't care what medium they use it is of no consequence to me... The damn games better load fast. I would rather a cartridge (no scratches).

the Intel processor is great but it is going to cause everyone to say things like "let's hack it" "how many is Saadam going to buy" and "what about
a beowulf cluster of these". I want something original!

I will stick to my CPU. I can do more and play more than any console. I really think that gaming is best on the desktop but then again, I like my dual heads and my keyboard and my multitasking... That is just me.

Just my worthless .02

Bill Gates is no Steve Jobs (2)

KFury (19522) | more than 13 years ago | (#526007)

Wow can that guy not grab a room, even when he has worthy hardware.

Watching Gates try to sell the X-Box reminds me of going to Frys and having people tell me why Windows ME is the best OS.

Kevin Fox

Re:Freedom to innovate... new interfaces? (2)

thogard (43403) | more than 13 years ago | (#526009)

IBM and others are proposing a new USB connector for Point of Sale equipment that will support +12V and +24 Volts as well as the standard stuff.

Too bad google isn't helping me find a link.

Re:quick thoughts. (2)

British (51765) | more than 13 years ago | (#526010)

I'll give you 2 reasons. 1) If you have a huge-ass TV, you want to get some distance between you and the TV so you won't burn your eyes out. 2) If this thing had short cords, you'd be bitching about how short the cords were and having to pay microsoft even MORE money for controller-extension cables. Nice try, thanks for playing.,

The amount of bickering about the X box on here is astounding. The look, the controllers, the usual MS bashing, the USB usage. Ahh the MS glass will always be half-empty on here.

long cord.. why even bother? I don't want a cord, he talked to the wrong people. I want to sit where ever I am and be free (and not have people tripping over the damn wire, or the dog pulling it out in the middle of a 1 hour GT2 endurance race).

Re:Ugly? (2)

British (51765) | more than 13 years ago | (#526011)

It looks just like my sidewinder game pad, but fatter.

Just as long as it does not resemble the Atari Jaguar controller(the WORST controller in video game history), I'm sure it will do fine.

As far as I see it (2)

Datafage (75835) | more than 13 years ago | (#526012)

consoles hav always been better at sports/fighting games, computers have been better at first person shooters, strategy games, and dungeon-crawl style games. If MS makes a converter for the inane different form USB port and we can use our keyboards and mice in addition to the gamepads, this might just be able to play all types of games well, which would make a compelling argument, at least to me, to pick this console over the others.


Karma Whoring (2)

OakLEE (91103) | more than 13 years ago | (#526017)

Gamespot [] by far has the best coverage of this thing. They even got to play with it, more then gamecenter or the register can say, for the moment.


Re:quick thoughts. (2)

ahaning (108463) | more than 13 years ago | (#526019)

long cord.. why even bother? I don't want a cord, he talked to the wrong people. I want to sit where ever I am and be free (and not have people
tripping over the damn wire, or the dog pulling it out in the middle of a 1 hour GT2 endurance race).

I'm not familiar with wireless game controllers, so that's why I'm asking. How would they deal with your dog walking through the beam of infrared? Assuming that's what it would use. I guess it could use some sort of directional radio signal (?) to overcome the limits of infrared. But, from what I've heard and experienced, most types of wireless networking/communication these days are a lot better than wire when it comes to flexibility, but are beaten when it comes to bandwidth, reliability, and distance. At least with a long cord, you could sit rather far from the console and let the wire sit on the floor rather than up about a foot in the air. As long as they could deal with the signal breakage. (develop special communications protocols that will deal with signal breakage so they could use infrared. or use radio signals.) To me, wires seem like they would be better for now. Probably cheaper, too.

wow (2)

nomadic (141991) | more than 13 years ago | (#526022)

"Gamers are going to know right when they see this console and controller what to expect when they turn on the Xbox," Luke said recently. "They are going to know they are playing on a system that offers more power and new, unforeseen gaming experiences than they've ever seen on a home console."

The power Luke speaks of is easily evident in the raised ribs that run across the rich, black exterior of the console,

By that logic, I can speed up my computer by putting racing stripes on it...


You missed one link... (2)

KNicolson (147698) | more than 13 years ago | (#526028)

To The Register's [] images of the XBox.

Well, it gave me a bit of a giggle anyway.

X Box? (2)

octalman (169480) | more than 13 years ago | (#526029)

Warning: X Box does NOT run X

Yet. ;-)

Re:quick thoughts. (2)

tealover (187148) | more than 13 years ago | (#526033)

Why is it when consumer electronic manufactuers release updates to their products under the guise of calling it "firmware" that's ok, but when Microsoft does it, it's evil?

Sony is already being bitched about providing a firmware update for their buggy dvd playback.

The hypocrisy of you faggots is amazing.

WWF wrestler (2)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | more than 13 years ago | (#526034)

To make even more of an impact, Gates called on the incredibly popular WWF wrestler, The Rock to help him unveil the uber-machine.
Now call me a troll if you must, but why did this make me line laugh so much. :-)

The Rock: I will pummel you Gates!!
Gates: No wait, we are presenting my new machine.
The Rock:Oh yeah, you're right. Well buy this box kids, you know Gates kicks ass. We are the new tag team ready to take on everybody. grr
Gates: Yes we are really cool dudes, I am really in to that WWWF(v4.0) think too.
The Rock: Let's get in the ring, put on your tights, Gates, grr


Reverse Hack??? (PLEASE!) (2)

Spackler (223562) | more than 13 years ago | (#526036)

An NVIDIA graphics processing unit (GPU)
An Intel 733MHz processor
An 8GB hard drive

OK, Sounds like a PC (easy hack). What I want is a reverse hack, taking the software (even the crappy MS OS out of this, and putting it on my PC (that's already faster than this thing!). Why do I need to buy all the same crap again???


Re:Suprisingly stoopid idea (2)

bdlinux13 (232862) | more than 13 years ago | (#526037)

They say it is faster.. the 733 MHZ CPU that is than the PS2 processor... it might run at a higher MHZ.. but that does not mean it has more processing power....... I bought two PS2s on launch night.. sold them both.. now I am looking for one for me... I played one for about 5 days before selling it... Madden 2001 kicked butt.. I know most ./ers are not sports fans... but sports games have been around since the first GUI games.. and they kick butt..... i have no idea where this post is leading too.. so I will end it no

Slight design mistake (2)

Elby 23 (234458) | more than 13 years ago | (#526038)

The xbox has 64 megs of ram. How is microsoft code supposed to run on it?

it's just a cheap plastic box (2)

q000921 (235076) | more than 13 years ago | (#526040)

Isn't it amazing how marketers can imbue images of cigarettes with meanings like "healthy", "young", "beautiful", when the stuff really poisons you? And isn't it amazing how marketers and designers can imbue a mediocre PC plastic box with associations of "power"? Yes, some computer games are very challenging in a certain way. But you don't need a box that screams "power" to play those, you merely need a box that's fast enough.

If you want the real thing, get the real thing. Go to the gym, climb mountains, ride a motorcycle, or fly an airplane. If you want a powerful computer, get a 256 node Beowulf cluster and find something real to do with it. Computer games are fun and entertaining, and even challenging in their own right, but don't let some marketer confuse you about whether they are the real-world thing or not.

hmm . . . (2)

lbredeso (235131) | more than 13 years ago | (#526041)

Why is it assumed that every product to come from Microsoft is so awful? Microsoft may produce closed-source software, they're evil, blah blah blah, etc., but I still haven't seen a web-browser that works in linux that is as fast as Internet Explorer! I think we should face the fact that NOT EVERYTHING MICROSOFT MAKES IS JUNK. This could actually turn out to be a good system . . . who knows . . . we'll have to wait until we can ACTUALLY USE it before we decide it's a heap of junk . . .

Re:I wonder (2)

Calle Ballz (238584) | more than 13 years ago | (#526042)

You would have to bypass the anti-gnu filter first.

The big problem (2)

russellamiller (240136) | more than 13 years ago | (#526043)

It'll get hacked. Console games depend on licensees paying to use the platform. But if gamers can hook it up to the net and download free games, then the value to the licensees plummets. And so the licensees migrate to other (closed) platforms.

Will game consoles kill family life a little more? (2)

Lover's Arrival, The (267435) | more than 13 years ago | (#526045)

See, I remember when I was young, and I used to play on an old 8-bit commodore 64. Well, it was fun, but it wasn't immersive in the same way that modern baiming is. So I tended to play it for an hour or two, and then leave it.

I remember being shocked 6 months ago when I visited my brother, to find that his kids were using their playstation to play "Spyro the Dragon" all the time! I mean, they hardly spent any time at all with their family!

I think that the X-Box will likely be even more addictive, and will offer internet gaming, so I have already cautioned my brother about the 'next generation consoles'. I just think that children should have more of a childhood, and not waste it in the sort of digital oblivion that M$ profit from.

But then, maybe if *I* got addicted I wouldn't be so wary, hehe ;)

.NET on Xbox? (3)

rho (6063) | more than 13 years ago | (#526046)

How long after the Xbox is released will it be running a .NET client?

Something to think about -- Microsoft has the cash on hand to take a bath on the console sales (think $150-$250), which prices it below the PS2 (its nearest competitor). I remember reading (somewhere) that there was a PSX in 3 out of 4 homes in the USA. Imagine that kind of saturation with the Xbox.

Now, think of .NET running on the Xbox. Suddenly, all these el-cheapo consoles are full-bore computers with MSN satellite or DSL broadband connections with MSN email addresses, MSN Instant Messenger and MSNBC running in a window in the corner while you're using MSPhonePad to dial up your friend to arrange a network game of MS FlightSim...

Hrmm... suddenly MSFT at 49 11/16 is pretty darn cheap, DOJ or no DOJ.

Freedom to innovate... new interfaces? (3)

KFury (19522) | more than 13 years ago | (#526049)

Gates: "The controllers use USB, but it's a different kind of port. Still you'll be amazed with the kinds of controllers that will come out for it."

Yay standards!

Kevin Fox

Hmm..does it come with Rebecca Romaijn? (3)

Raleel (30913) | more than 13 years ago | (#526050)

Seriously..I feel like I am getting a console stamped with Charles Xavier's signature!

Cyclops says, "I have had my eye on this one for a long time!"
Storm says, "A man without an Xbox will never get a blow from me!"

How they thought up the controller design (3)

Fastleaf (165027) | more than 13 years ago | (#526051) l

Secret specs! (4)

donutello (88309) | more than 13 years ago | (#526052)

The Register, UK [] published some secret specs [] on the XBox on Thursday.

Re:Suprisingly stoopid idea (4)

tealover (187148) | more than 13 years ago | (#526054)

And why do you think PC developers use API's like Direct X? Because of all the myriad hardware platforms they have to support.

The differences between optimizing code on Pentium, PII's, PIII's, Celerons, AMD's, etc., is huge. As such, they usually don't get to the metal.

This will change with the Xbox. As good as the Direct X API's are, hungry, talented developers looking to separate themseles from the pack will hit the metal. That's what John Carmack and Michael Abrash use to do. Guess who's working on getting the most out of the Xbox's graphics chip? Michael Abrash.

I've preordered 3 already.

ANTI - Nintendo Rant (5)

NickV (30252) | more than 13 years ago | (#526055)

>> The controller design is very innovative. It feels very good in your hands but is extremely intuitive and usable

From what I've read, "No one knows how confusing GameCube may be to operate, however, as Nintendo has not allowed outsiders to touch it."

The XBox joypad looks pretty comfortable. According to people who actually handled it at the CES, it is supposedly VERY comfortable. Have you touched the controller yet? I don't think so, yet you even claim the NGC has a better controller, when nobody in the industry is allowed to hold one yet!

Speaking of Nintendo, I hope and PRAY Nintendo NEVER EVER regains any status near it's old NES/SNES days. Do you actually remember those days? Nintendo was comprised of the biggest group of bastards ever.

Lemme remind you of some things Nintendo did (move over MS!)

1) Remember the artifical shortages for video games... like the time Zelda 2 came out, and 20/20 even ran a 30 minute special on the limited quantity and ended up finding a WAREHOUSE FULL OF THEM!

2) Remember how Nintendo reacted to developer demand to making the N64 CD-based? They ignored them, (which means they lost most of them, including SQUARE!!!) and created a cartridge based system. Why? Because they control the cost and licensing of the cartridges, which is why even today "classic" N64 games cost $39.95.

3) Nintendo of America ALWAYS believed their audience was dumber, and inferior to their japanese market. I can sight NUMEROUS examples, including the censored FFIII (FF4 in Japan) that made it to America with many missing plot elements becasue they believed "American culture can't handle them." Oh, and there was also the dumbed-down version of FFV. At least Sony has never dumbed/censored the FF series (they even synced the numbering with the japanese system.) Oh, and the Japanese version of Super Mario 2 didn't make it to american shores until 7 years later (for the SNES) because they felt Americans wouldn't be able to handle so difficult a game.

4) Nintendo forces companies to get their products authorized for their machines. Remember when Galoob got sued for the Game Genie by Nintendo, and the judge stayed sales so people had to import it from Canada? No OTHER console company has ever sued a product... oh and then Nintendo also sued (and failed at it) TenGen for created "unauthorized" games. So essentially they designed new NESes that stopped them from working!

I can go on and on and on over Nintendo's ridiculous stances. You think MS with a monopoly is bad? You obviously don't remember Nintendo.

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